TOURISM Queenslandeddie Safarik

A Whit-stupid waste of time

A GOVERNMENT department is considering abolishing the Whitsunday name in part of the iconic region, a move which has been labelled as a waste of time and money.

Airlie Beach, Jubilee Pocket, Cannonvale and Shute Harbour are at risk of losing their identity after an individual applied to the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) to discontinue the township name of Whitsunday.

It was only earlier this year that DERM rejected another application trying to stop the word Whitsunday being used to refer to other areas in the region, including its famous islands and coastline.

Tourism Minister and Whitsunday MP Jan Jarratt yesterday said the discussion was a waste of "everyone's time and money" and vowed to take it up with the Minister for Natural Resources.

Whitsunday Mayor Mike Brunker described the saga as ridiculous and questioned why DERM would even consider the application.

"It's just ridiculous," he said. "It's taking up a lot of time and resources. I don't know why they'd (DERM) even entertain it. They know our response. They know what an emotional issue it is - people don't like losing their identity."

Whitsunday councillors this week resolved to write a strong objection after DERM indicated it was considering discontinuing the Whitsunday township name.

Council is concerned the loss of the township name would result in the loss of the iconic Whitsundays brand as a tourism term and the gradual loss of the allowed use of the word.

It will also argue that the name doesn't conflict with any other township and the term Whitsunday is used by council, emergency services and other agencies to identify properties in the region.

According to DERM's website, Captain Cook coined the name "Whitsunday's Passage" during a scientific expedition in 1770.

DERM regional manager, planning and assessment Ian Gordon said the applicant hadn't suggested an alternative name for the township of Whitsunday.

Mr Gordon said DERM was contacting key stakeholders for feedback which closed on December 4.

DERM would review the feedback and the Minister would determine whether to proceed with the application, he said.

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